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Thomas Paine

To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

31 January - Articles of Note

English: A stereotypical caricature of a villa...Image via Wikipedia
English: Wordmark of the University of Colorad...Image via Wikipedia
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Twenty Foot Long Chinese Dragon Mural, Kono Re...Image by Posh Living, LLC via Flickr
Flying Motorcycle

The Iran you will never see on American Television

Research at Rice University leads to nanotube-based device for communication, security, sensing

Using carbon nanotubes as the critical component of a robust terahertz polarizer that could accelerate the development of new security and communication devices, sensors and non-invasive medical imaging systems as well as fundamental studies of low-dimensional condensed matter systems. The polarizer developed by the Rice lab of Junichiro Kono, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and of physics and astronomy, is the most effective ever reported; it selectively allows 100 percent of a terahertz wave to pass or blocks 99.9 percent of it, depending on its polarization. The research was published in the online version of the American Chemical Society journal Nano Letters.

The broadband polarizer handles waves from 0.5 to 2.2 terahertz, far surpassing the range of commercial polarizers that consist of fragile grids wrapped in gold or tungsten wires.
Kono said technologies that make use of the optical and electrical regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are mature and common, as in lasers and telescopes on one end and computers and microwaves on the other. But until recent years, the terahertz region in between was largely unexplored. "Over the past decade or two, people have been making impressive progress," he said, particularly in the development of such sources of radiation as the terahertz quantum cascade laser.
"We have pretty good terahertz emitters and detectors, but we need a way to manipulate light in this range," Kono said. "Our work is in this category, manipulating the polarization state -- the direction of the electric field -- of terahertz radiation."
Terahertz waves exist at the transition between infrared and microwaves and have unique qualities. They are not harmful and penetrate fabric, wood, plastic and even clouds, but not metal or water. In combination with spectroscopy, they can be used to read what Kono called "spectral fingerprints in the terahertz range"; he said they would, for instance, be useful in a security setting to identify the chemical signatures of specific explosives.

New CU-Boulder-led study may answer questions about enigmatic Little Ice Age

A new University of Colorado Boulder-led study appears to answer contentious questions about the onset and cause of Earth's Little Ice Age, a period of cooling temperatures that began after the Middle Ages and lasted into the late 19th century. According to the new study, the Little Ice Age began abruptly between A.D. 1275 and 1300, triggered by repeated, explosive volcanism and sustained by a self- perpetuating sea ice-ocean feedback system in the North Atlantic Ocean

Torture, and impunity in US courts
New York, NY - An important question confronting courts in the United States is whether individuals subjected to torture and other abuse in the "war on terror" can obtain a judicial remedy for their mistreatment. A recent decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia, concludes that they may not.
The decision, which throws out the civil suit of former enemy combatant Jose Padilla, is troubling, both in its result and potential sweep. It not only threatens core freedoms protected by the constitution, but also undermines the principle that government officials should be held accountable for their illegal conduct.

In Bad Faith: New Study Further Underscores Lack of Truth in Anti-Choice Claims

One of the most frustrating parts of dealing with the modern conservative movement is their incredibly practiced disingenuousness. From a bunch of white people denying racism while pushing racist policies to a bunch of straight people claiming that they want to ban gay marriage not because they hate gays, but because they love “traditional marriage,” the constant pose of the modern right winger is one of bad faith.

Despite arsons, vandalism and occasional assassinations, anti-choice activists demand the right to label their movement “non-violent.” And despite the fact that the movement is organized by religious people whose religion teaches that women should be constrained to traditional gender roles and that sex outside of marriage (or for pleasure instead of procreation) is wrong, anti-choicers cry foul if you suggest that their activism against women’s liberation or sexual freedom somehow is rooted in opposition to women’s liberation or hostility to sex.

All this means that liberals have to spend a lot of time collecting evidence that conservatives are arguing in bad faith. Some times that takes the form of catching them in moments of honesty when they’re only speaking to their fellow travelers, and their relaxed state allows racist or sexist language to fly. And some times that means proving that it’s literally impossible for someone who claims to be accepting of liberal value like anti-sexism or anti-racism to hold the views that conservatives do.

 ( The logical deduction is that this isn`t conservatism being discussed : holding on to the progress of the past. Of course, in a nation with two parties funding wars of acquisition while tightening the bondage of  the people via police state repression....any `left-right`difference is of the `Good Cop, Bad Cop` style of Stockholm Syndrome. Living like Patty Hearst : hostages. )

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens recently stated in TIME magazine’s 10 Questions, when asked, “One in nine black men ages 20 to 34 in the U.S. is incarcerated. Is that a judicial system problem?” Stevens: “…I think generally, the so-called war on drugs has emphasized more-severe punishment than is appropriate throughout the country. There are some instances where penalties are so disproportionate that they could well violate the Eight Amendment [the Cruel and Unusual Punishment Clause].” What we in America need to wake up to is that incarceration is the new slavery, and that incarceration is a direct pathway to economic and political castration… you can’t vote if you’ve been to jail, and you will have one of the hardest, must frustrating times possible getting a legit job *  that pays you more than slave wages (i.e. the Minimum Wage)… so you have to ask yourself, “why does America have the largest prison population (in raw numbers and in percentage of the population) than any other industrialized economy (and probably any Third World backwater too)?”  report released by The Bureau of Prison Statistics released a report that indicated that one out of every 32 American adults have been in prison, in jail, on probation, or on parole… what does that do to the available labor pool?
( Send people to prison to learn from the more experienced criminals - and make it difficult to return to society. Does this sound like a strategy to reduce crime....are there any Yes responses )

Purity Balls, Feminism for Guys, and Terroristic Threats

Operation Rescue’s people like to get all huffy and take offense when you point out that their organization is somewhere on the continuum of racketeering and terrorism, since their main goal is to intimidate abortion providers. After all, having extremist anti-choice protesters picket your clinic rapidly raises the chances of violence against the clinic or, in many sad cases, against people who work there, as we learned with the death of Dr. George Tiller in 2009 or the recent clinic arson in Florida. Because of this, Operation Rescue playing innocent doesn’t fly. They know very well what they’re doing when they target clinics and doctors, siccing unstable people on them. Rachel Maddow explained how, in the pre-internet days, posters were created with detailed information about doctors and distributed.

...It’s clear that we’re working with different versions of the phrase “good people” here. Jessica and I see women’s goodness like men’s: Are you an honest person? A hard worker? Kind to others? Takes care of responsibilities? But the Christian right* sees a woman not so much as a person, but an object for sale. They imagine women like little kids imagine toys, as somehow more valuable because it’s still in the original wrapping. The internal life of women is of no consequence to them, just their value as objects to be owned and controlled.

( * Guess it`s obvious why I contend they`re neither Christian nor Right. The New Testament `gospel`is about hope,love, and trust....not rewards for compliance to demands and intimidation.  Heck, the action part includes false witness, religio-political gamesmanship, paid shills to whip the crowd into a frenzy, and the sacrifice of a leading protester and exposer of corruption to torture and death courtesy the Empire. What`s not to like. 

It`s a cautionary tale Against such Behaviour !....my bad...something for everyone  )

Rachel Maddow on the new intimidation tactic from Operation Rescue

Scandinavian workers realized that, electoral “democracy” was stacked against them, so nonviolent direct action was needed to exert the power for change. 

Are You Still Eating Butterball Turkeys?


BFP Exclusive: U.S. Transit Hub-Base in Kyrgyzstan for Afghan Heroin

Peter Dale Scott wrote a lengthy article outlining how US intervention in Kyrgyzstan, in the name of protecting its strategic air base, has led to the destabilization of Kyrgyz politics and to a drastic increase in the flow of drugs through the country

As early as 2001 Kyrgyzstan’s location had made it a focal point for transnational trafficking groups. According to a U.S. Library of Congress Report of 2002,
Kyrgyzstan has become a primary center of all aspects of the narcotics industry: manufacture, sale, and drug trafficking. Kyrgyzstan’s location adjacent to major routes across the Tajik mountains from Afghanistan combines with ineffectual domestic smuggling controls to attract figures from what a Kyrgyz newspaper report characterized as “an international organization uniting an unprecedentedly wide circle of members in the United States, Romania, Brazil, Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan….These are no half-literate Tajik-Afghan drug runners, but professionals who have passed through a probation period in the mafia clans of the world narcotics system….”
I encourage you to take the time and read the entire investigative report on Kyrgyzstan here. Once you do that you’ll understand why it makes perfect sense to have a drug boss lead Kyrgyzstan’s police force. 

 Whistleblowers Expose FDA`s Illegal Surveillance of Employees


FDA Spy Program Documents Linked Here

As reported in today's Washington Post, six current and former employees of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have filed a complaint against the FDA in U.S. District Court. The employees are seeking an injunction to stop the agency from illegally spying on employees' private communications to Congress and other oversight agencies.
Linked here are key documents related to this lawsuit and the FDA's spying program.

Dow and Monsanto Team Up On the Mother of All Herbicide Marketing Plans

 Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told me that when the USDA brings a GMO product to the comment stage after having recommended deregulation, it “almost always” greenlights the product. “The only times I’ve seen the USDA hold off at this stage is when there’s a lot of public pushback,” Gurian-Sherman says. Dow’s new GM corn merits just such a public uproar, it seems to me. A just-released paper from a group of researchers led by Pennsylvania State University crop scientist David A. Mortensen makes a strong case that new herbicide-tolerant crops will lead US agriculture down a path of ever-increasing addiction to agrichemicals. (The abstract is here; I have a PDF of the full paper but can’t upload it because it’s under copyright.)
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